Facebook opens part of its platform

Code to be open-sourced

It's only been a year since Facebook opened its platform to allow developers to build third party applications on the site, but the fast-moving Web 2.0 world has now prompted the social network to open source portions of its code, primarily to ward off rivals like Google and MySpace, according to industry observers.

Facebook announced last week it is releasing a "significant" part of its platform as open source code. The open code includes much of the social network's platform, along with many of its most used methods and tags.

Facebook said that its new Facebook Open Platform is a response to feedback from developers looking for more tools and better information on how the social network's platform works. In the past year, more than 400,000 developers have built 24,000 new applications at a rate of 140 a day for the Facebook application directory, the company said.

"The goal of this release is to help you as developers better understand Facebook Platform as a whole and more easily build applications, whether it's by running your own test servers, building tools, or optimizing your applications on this technology," Facebook noted in a blog post.

"We've built in extensibility points, so you can add functionality to Facebook Open Platform like your own tags and API methods. We're also hoping you use Facebook Open Platform in ways we've never thought of — just as you showed off your creativity with Facebook Platform, we hope this lets you be creative with the foundation of the platform itself," it added.

Most of the release is licensed under the Common Public Attribution License (CPAL), while some of the code is licensed under the Mozilla Public License (MPL), Facebook said.

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